Classroom Curiosities V

The latest round up of the things my students say in our classroom:

These small words, such as ‘at’, ‘on’ and ‘in’, may seem insignificant, but they can really bugger up the meaning of the sentence if used incorrectly. My lower primary students find it particularly confusing that you get in a car or taxi, but on a train or bus. At first, they think it means you stand on top of it to travel.

Science of deduction
One of my favourite games is to ask students to offer an educated guess about an unknown word. I make it more exciting by saying we must be detectives and I get out my magnifying glass to mimic Sherlock (or Geronimo Stilton for them).

Recently, the word ‘rodent’ came up. One child thought that it might mean ‘rotten’ which wasn’t so far off, but another guessed ‘food’. I’m not accepting an invite to dinner round theirs.

Inside the lines
Sometimes, our practice of the fine motor skills (handwriting and colouring to the rest of us) can produce something wonderful. I present to you a truly ‘baked’ gingerbread man.


Another tricky hurdle for my students is idioms, those well-known phrases that are often unique to your home country. In the beginning, my students are hesitant to use them, but they soon go overboard and sprinkle them in nonsensically.

I created a worksheet to introduce them to body idioms, and gave them a word bank of body parts to complete the phrases. There were some old favourites, such as, ‘legged it’ for running away, ‘nosy’ for someone who is overly curious, and a ‘hair-raising’ experience on a roller coaster.

One of my students believed that the phrase, ‘headless chicken’ was actually ‘stomach chicken.’ I bet this is a dish readily available in the hawker centre.

Teaching children to read can be challenging. You need a huge dollop of patience and should be encouraging at all times, but you are occasionally rewarded with hilarious alternatives to the words on the page.

Some that stick in my mind from the last few weeks are ‘eating toes’ instead of ‘toast’, washing your hands with ‘foamy soup’ rather than ‘soap’, a student read ‘ate a snake’ instead of ‘snack’, and one boy repeatedly read ‘myth’ as ‘meth’.


The future
In a recent lesson, we sent the children in a time machine into the future, exactly one hundred years to be precise. I asked my class to imagine what will have changed, especially with transport and their school.

Many were excitedly discussing robot teachers, flying spaceships and space academies. One boy, who seemed to miss the concept a bit, dryly exclaimed, “But I’ll be dead!”

Eat my dust
One particularly tricky lesson where I had a few emotional three year olds join my class, I made up a funny game to distract them from the fact they were no longer with their parents.

Joining up lowercase and uppercase letters, I deliberately drew some lines incorrectly to get them to correct me and build their confidence. When I erased the line, I made a funny “Nom nom!” sound, as if the eraser enjoyed eating up the pencil.

All the children laughed except one serious young girl, who worriedly asked, “Where is its mouth?”

Stick to the script
As a teacher, it is important that you think carefully before opening your mouth. Each instruction should be clear, concise and pitched to the appropriate level. However, sometimes you can be caught off guard.

I had marked a student’s narrative where they had used multiple conjunctions in a sentence, so I explained, “You don’t need a double ‘but'”. The whole class erupted.

There are times when you are rewarded as a teacher quite unexpectedly. One fond memory is a student who passed me a pizza promotion flyer as we lined up for class. One six year old wrote this in our lesson recently:


I leave you with my latest wall display to compliment the book bingo game I made my primary students. Until next time!



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